DOH: Few C. Luzon towns ban smoking
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Only 24 of 130 local governments in Central Luzon have passed ordinances for tobacco control, according to initial data drawn by the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Luzon for the World No Tobacco Day last week.
The cities and towns with tobacco control ordinances are Balanga, Orion, Hermosa, Samal in Bataan; Balagtas, Bocaue, Bulacan, Norzagaray, Obando, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, San Jose del Monte, San Rafael and Sta. Maria in Bulacan; Panique, San Manuel, Gerona, Concepcion, Bamban and Anao in Tarlac; Candaba in Pampanga; and Zaragoza, and Muñoz and San Jose cities in Nueva Ecija.
These local governments have designated smoking areas, banned the sales of cigarettes to minors, prohibited the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco, created a smoking cessation program, formed a task force to enforce the ordinances, and imposed a citation ticket system or charged penalties.
The cities of Angeles and San Fernando, both in Pampanga, have also passed ordinances regulating smoking and sales of tobacco.
Most of the ordinances were issued to keep up with the Tobacco Regulation Act of 1993, according to Dr. Maila Rostrata, head of the DOH Central Luzon noncommunicable diseases program.
Of these local governments, Balanga City has twice received the Red Orchid Award from the DOH since 2011 for maintaining a tobacco-free environment.
The other winners this year were the DOH-Central Luzon, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in the City of San Fernando and the Mariveles Mental Hospital in Bataan.
Rostrata said the DOH has been advocating for a 100-percent smoke-free environment. Proposed ordinances, based on DOH templates, on this thrust are due for deliberations by provincial boards of Pampanga and Bulacan.
A study cited by the DOH said 28 percent of Filipinos smoke, because cigarette prices are low in the country.
It is estimated that 240 Filipinos die daily from tobacco-related illnesses. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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